Warehouse Management can be seen from a several viewpoints. For instance, it could literally mean the management of a warehouse, a team of people who are in the warehouse managing operations to ensure maximum productivity. In another connotation, warehouse management could stand for the software and hardware used in computers to manage the daily activities of a warehouse.
When you associate warehouse management with people, there are certain duties in which you envision them responsible. Warehouse managers must be prepared to handle anything from driving a forklift to training employees. They should know how to run the equipment in the warehouse and also deal with irate customers. In other words, they have to be a “jack of all trades.”
A warehouse manager’s typical duties might include overseeing deliveries and pick-ups of product items or making calls trying to find a lost shipment. In addition, they need to be creative with storage solutions and be prepared for any potential hazards. They might also have to maintain computerized controls of delivery and shipment of inventory, supplies and waste products. It is these computerized controls that tie in to the other connotation of warehouse management.
With the invention of computers and factory automation, other parts of the business like warehouse management benefit. These days, warehouse management could easily refer to a software solution that provides the backbone for the management of all operations in a warehouse. Inventory logistics and distribution play a large role in upholding equilibrium in a warehouse as well as the maintenance of equipment and an accounting of products and services the warehouse provides.
The purpose of warehouse management has expanded to include other functions like manufacturing, data management and storage, transportation, scheduling, forecasting of supply and demand and even human resource management. The days of a warehouse just “housing” goods and supplies are long gone. Instead, these many functions listed above are integrated into warehouse management. Without forecasting, a business would not be able to anticipate their busiest times and provide the products that meet their supply and demand. Without transportation management in a warehouse, a business could not move products throughout the warehouse and into the appropriate trucks to transport them to the stores for sale.
Warehouse management has become big business. Each piece of warehouse operations fits together like a jigsaw puzzle to create one whole operating entity. With computers and software, warehouse can almost operate by themselves. Laptops, PDAs and other scanning devices can keep track of all the operations within and network back into main databases to transfer information about such things as the amount of stock on hand and when it is time to order more inventory.
There will always be different needs for warehouse management, because no one facility is quite the same. Luckily, technology lends itself to customized software and hardware that will suit the individual characteristics of these warehouses. In fact, more advanced systems for warehouse management have already been implemented which uses GPS, or global positioning systems technology and even radio frequencies.